Our web presence is a critical part of who we are and is becoming significantly more important to all our audiences. How we present ourselves and engage online have an impact our reputation and brand.
The University of Newcastle website is the University's primary communication tool for internal and external audiences. The site's current design and function has delivered major usability improvements and this should continue to be a priority for web publishers across the University.
Online publishing at UON is de-centralised. Publishers, approvers and business owners across the organisation are required to maintain current and relevant content in their areas.
Contact the web team if you need more information on content ownership.
The homepage and key audience landing pages provide a number of options for communicating important important stories and messages, including:
- feature image and caption
- news and events
- feature widgets
- highlights widgets
Marketing and Communications manages all the relevant spaces on the homepage.
In order for a story to be placed on the homepage, it must be deemed suitable by Marketing and Communications. Homepage content must:
- support the University's strategic objectives
- appeal to key external audiences
- highlight the achievements of the University and/or its staff
- be accompanied by appropriate imagery
There are nine key audience areas, each with its own landing page and maintained by the relevant business area of the University.
It is important that these pages stay fresh with regularly updated content. The feature image and caption space should be updated at least once a week.
Consult with the relevant business owner about the various ways in which your story might be promoted.
The news and events function on the UON website promotes the sharing of news across the site. Sections and pages are set up to display news and events items of interest to the particular audience.
News and events are displayed as feature widget carousels which link back to the Newsroom, where stories are 'filed' according to their primary audience.
Creating a news or event item
All web publishers can create a news or event item in the web content management system (WCMS). Contact the web publisher in your area for assistance.
News and events items are reviewed and approved by the web team via an automated workflow process in the WCMS.
Marketing and Communications has overall responsibility for the management of the web content management system and web support services.
Comprehensive information is available for publishers and approvers at the Web Support Portal. The portal is in part self-help (access to the knowledge base) and in part a ticketing system for logging issues/requests for support by the Web Team.
Access to the web content management system
Principles of our website
Online publishing is exciting as it is constantly evolving. It is up to all of us to keep the web site fresh and relevant and to look for new and exciting ways to develop the site's form and function. Our web site principles have been developed to help us achieve all of these outcomes.
Maintaining a great website requires commitment, of both time and resources. Let's work together to continue moving the University of Newcastle's website in a great, new direction.
1. Demonstrates alignment to University of Newcastle's strategic direction
Our website supports the University's strategic direction. Before you write new or update existing content, consider how it fits in with the plans for our institution.
At University of Newcastle we strive for excellence and our website should reflect that. Everything from well written content, accessibility, search engine optimisation (SEO), design, and functionality, need to be implemented correctly every step of the way.
2. Audience focused structure and content
The University of Newcastle website now provides an intuitive user experience, which means the content is where users expect to find it. Often material will be relevant to one or more audience. Content can be shared across the site in a number of ways, but it should always live in the most relevant audience area. If you have multiple audiences, help them find what they are after by creating links that direct them to the right content.
3. Current and clear content
Out-of-date information on a site is a major source of frustration for users. Providing the latest information is not only important for our web site's reputation, it's important for the University's reputation as a world-class institution. Search engines will respect us more too.
Write for your audience and assume that many may be reading your content for the first time. Make it clear to them the information that is important. Use bullet points and headings to create a layout that is easily understood.
4. Consistent Design
Good page design makes web content more appealing and easier to read. Our website has approved design templates built in, to ensure a consistent look throughout the site. This means you can concentrate on what goes in, not how it comes out.
Our site must provide equal access to all users at all times.
We are committed to supporting World Content Accessbility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, level AA. Our web content management system (WCMS) has built in tools to help you run an accessibility check on new content. Before you publish, always check to make sure you meet the correct accessibility standards.
6. Optimised for search
Writing great content is the first step in the journey towards achieving great SEO. Adding the bells and whistles such as keywords, metadata descriptions and even logical headings, means search engines will find us and, more importantly, our audience will engage with us.
Always check your content's performance by reviewing your analytics. This will help you to make improvements if needed.
7. Mobile friendly
Each month, an average of 100,000 visits to our website originate from a mobile device*, a number that continues to grow. While our site is mobile responsive, it's important to think about the layout of your content. Make the important information available immediately and always consider the quality and size of your images.
When you finish creating your content, don't just preview it on your desktop. Test your work on a mobile and tablet device as well.
*Google Analytics data, sourced 24/09/2014.
8. Single source of truth
Conflicting information on the website can be enough to confuse and turn visitors away for good.
Before new content is created, it is worth checking whether it (or something similar) already exists. In this instance, find a way to use the existing content so that when updates to the content are necessary, they are done in one place and by the relevant business area.